Shedrow Secrets

It’s Been a Long Time Comin’ – The Liberation of Shamrock Road

by Mary Johnson

The story of Shamrock Road began four and a half years ago when Patrick brought the then three-year-old gelding to the attention of HW readers – here, here, and here. At that time, Shamrock had been raced 12 times in 18 weeks and was owned by The IRA and trained by the notorious Edward Sexton. By year’s end – his very first in racing – Shamrock had been put to the whip an unconscionable 24 times.

A group of advocates began to track Shamrock’s circuitous racing career. In February ’16, he “won” for the last time – and in the process, was “claimed” (sold) yet again. In less than five years, Shamrock was raced 61 times, “earning” a relatively paltry $42,000 – the definition of a low-level claimer. And there are thousands more just like him.

There were several attempts (offers) to retire Shamrock from racing, all ultimately failing. Our options were limited. We either had to patiently wait for an opportunity to present itself, or we had to claim him (Shamrock was “For Sale” prior to all of his final 15 races). Through a contact, I let the owner know that we would welcome an opportunity to purchase him and within a couple months, that opportunity came. Two days ago, Shamrock Road was delivered to a barn where Rose Smith and I have boarded other horses, and he has settled in well. Shamrock’s servitude and suffering are finally at an end. Here’s to many years of love and security for this beautiful boy!


After (obscenely) boasting following this past summer’s supposed “clean” racing – never mind that six horses did die (see below) – Del Mar today began its utterly predictable regression to the mean. In the 3rd race, Ghost Street “suffered a catastrophic injury…and was humanely euthanized.” Three races later, it was Prayer Warrior, of whom trainer Jeff Metz’s daughter said: “It’s with a heavy heart to say that we unfortunately lost Prayer Warrior this afternoon. He was loved by everyone. The barn will definitely not be the same without him.” Vile – to the core.

(A third horse, Princess Dorian, “took a bad step” and was “vanned off” in the 2nd. That, of course, usually bodes ill. I will update as information comes in.)

The Del Mar 2019 Death Watch

Charge a Bunch, killed training Jul 18
Carson Valley, killed training Jul 18
Bowl of Soul, killed training Jul 29
unidentified, died in stall Jul 31-Aug 4
unidentified, died in stall Aug 5-Aug 11
Bri Bri, killed training Aug 12
Ghost Street, killed racing Nov 10
Prayer Warrior, killed racing Nov 10

In a recent USA Today article on horse slaughter, this: “…an estimated 7,500 thoroughbreds a year are slaughtered for human consumption, according to Alex Waldrop, president of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.”

Yes, that’s right, one of the most prominent, powerful people in racing concedes that multiple thousands of “equine athletes” are brutally and violently bled-out and butchered each year. (Waldrop’s number, 7,500, shocking as it is, is almost surely understated: One industry-linked vet puts it at 10,000-12,000; an apologist writer says it’s even more.) This, alone, should be enough for all Americans of good conscience to support the abolition of this vile industry.

A reminder – photos from the slaughter pipeline (courtesy of Animals’ Angels):











Cajun Star’s “result” in the 4th at Delta Downs last evening: “stalked the early pace from the outside, rushed up through the second turn, gained a clear margin at the eighth pole, was pulled up at the sixteenths pole in distress and was euthanized” (Equibase). Cajun Star was six years old and under the whip for the 34th time.

The 8th at Charles Town last night, as relayed by Equibase: “Blushing Owen…dropped back leaving the turn, showed no further response to urging, suffered a fatal injury and fell at the sixteenth pole and was euthanized on the track.”

“showed no further response to urging” (to whipping, that is)
“suffered a fatal injury and fell”
“euthanized on the track”

Blushing Owen was three years old; ’twas his 13th time under the whip.

In the most recent Stewards Minutes from Golden Gate, it was revealed that 4-year-old Dramatic Ride was scratched prior to a race November 2. The reason: “Hit Head in Barn Area – Deceased.”

This is horseracing.